Comparison between the German DVD from e-m-s (theatrical version) and the main version of the German Blu-ray from TG Vision / Cargo Records.
- One extended bit
- Duration: 2 sec
In addition, a 0.7 sec bit is missing + the Korean Blu-ray / regular HD master misses another bit with a duration of 2.4 sec
Swordsman II with Jet Li was released in most countries in the regular Hong Kong theatrical version - only US viewers got a heavily censored version under the title Legend of the Swordsman. In Taiwan, however, a longer early cut of the film was available on VHS, VCD and DVD. In addition, it has always been interesting that the sequel Swordsman III was longer by one bit of violence during a flashback its predecessor. This scene was missing from the Hong Kong and US film versions, so it was probably already censored for the theatrical release in the home country.
Since June 30, 2023, the German Blu-ray premiere is available in two Mediabook editions. After Swordsman 1 lready had the longer Taiwanese cut as a bonus on the Blu-ray release (German audio only though), this has fortunately also happened with Swordsman II. In this case, the alternate version is available outside of Taiwan for the first time ever. However, since all known releases have English subtitles burned into the image and there are many differences in detail, this version is only available in SD and with its original language track. Interestingly, two violent bits that were censored in the actual Taiwan releases, have been re-inserted here.
But there is another special feature, because the well-known theatrical version is available in a slightly extended form. The aforementioned violent bit from the sequel's flashback has been inserted at the appropriate point in the finale: Now a huge gush of blood spurts out of Asia's torso as Master Wu attacks her. Interestingly, this short moment was also included in the Taiwan version, so besides the sequel, this was another reference to verify how this scene played out originally/uncensored. A nice little idea to rebuild it this way for the Blu-ray release. Overall, it's a recommendable release for fans.
Also, the original HD master has been shortened by one more small scene. This was confirmed by our label contact and could also be verified by the Korean Blu-ray, which indeed lacks this scene - which was still included in all earlier releases (we checked the German and British DVDs as well as the Hong Kong laserdisc). In any case, this scene has been reconstructed for the German Blu-ray and incorporated into the film.
Running time information is arranged according to the scheme
German DVD in PAL / main version on German Blu-ray in 23.976fps
The German DVD has various company logos to start with, which stretch the running time a bit. This was not the case with the British DVD. The German Blu-ray as well as the Korean Blu-ray also start without logos.
68 sec (= 1:08 min)
Here are a few comparison images from the film: The DVD (and also, for example, the Hong Kong laserdisc) had a somewhat over-applied yellow-brownish color filter and extreme blue during night scenes. The HD picture has more natural colors. Moreover, you can now recognize everything, whereas on the DVD some things were drowned in blacks.
03:40-03:45 / 02:38-02:39
At the beginning of the intro credits, the German DVD shows the international title of the film twice in a row, with other Chinese characters above it. The second text panel is the one that also appears in the HD master.
According to a comment by our user TheMaster, the first text panel mentions the film series, while the second refers to the title of the present part. Hence the HD master only gives the title of the part. The first panel say "Swordman", while the second roughly translates to "Undefeated in the East".
German DVD 4.7 sec longer
The rest of the opening credits are basically identical, but run a bit faster on the German DVD. With 4,5 sec this almost completely makes up for the difference of the duplicated title card.
95:20-95:21 / 98:07
The shot of Master Wu starts a moment earlier in the regular theatrical version: he comes staggering to the wall and spits up some blood.
+ 0.7 sec
95:23 / 98:10-98:12
In the familiar theatrical version, there is a noticeable jump cut after Master Wu raises his hand. Suddenly, from a slightly more distant perspective, a large gush of blood splashes towards him. On the German Blu-ray, as in the sequel AND the Taiwanese version, you can now see that Asia is hit and the blood splashes out of her upper body.
13:07 Korean Blu-ray / 13:07-13:10 German Blu-ray
Here's the small bit, which was missing in both the HD master originally supplied for the German Blu-ray and the version actually released on the Korean Blu-ray. At the end of the shot, Yi (Rosamund Kwan) tells Kiddo (Michelle Reis) to alert the men.